Some of the first hunting I ever did with my dad was to our family farm in rural northeast Missouri. I couldn’t have been much older than six or seven years old when we’d walk the neighbor’s pastures and kick brush piles looking for rabbits to dart out for other cover.
Usually, I’d take my lever action BB gun and do most of the kicking, but as I got older and got my first pump-action 20-gauge, I enjoyed Dad and I’s outings even more. We’d only go once or twice a year, and come back with a brace of rabbits each for a feast. My grandma usually liked to cook whatever we managed to get at the farm and I think my dad liked it too. It’s funny what sort of things connect you with your childhood. I think Mom’s home cooked game is probably a universal connection and sitting down at the table with three generations of family is a cherished experience I don’t take for granted.
Grandma usually did an egg and flower pan-fry for one or two rabbits and served them with sides of mashed potatoes and green-beans canned from her garden. When Dad would fix our rabbits at home, there was usually a crock-pot involved with carrots and celery thrown into the mix. I haven’t settled on what “my” signature rabbit preparation style will be yet, but one I’ve enjoyed in the past is this one for a delicious Italian style braised rabbit.
- 1 quartered and dressed rabbit
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 diced onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- 4 chopped cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 diced tomato
- 2 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 tsp rosmary
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- -salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. While the oil is heating, season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper before placing them into the hot oil. Be sure to brown the rabbit on all sides and turn them as necessary. Once browned, remove the rabbit from the oil and replace with the chopped garlic cloves, onions, celery and 1 tsp of salt. Saute the veggies in the oil for 3 minutes on medium heat.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
Stir in the vinegar and wine into the pot and be sure to scrape up any brown sticky bits from the bottom and incorporate them into the broth. Bring the contents to a boil for 2 minutes then add the seasonings, chicken broth, tomato and rabbit into the pot as well. Put a tight lid on the pot and put in the preheated oven for 90 minutes or until the rabbit is tender. Before letting the pot rest for 20 minutes outside the oven, add and stir in the fresh parsley. Serve the rabbit in a shallow bowl and bathe it in a healthy amount of liquid and veggies from the pot. Enjoy!